Illinois house approves bill requiring insurance coverage for hearing aids

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — The Illinois House approved a bill Thursday night to require all insurance companies to provide coverage for medically-necessary hearing aids. 

Current state law only addresses insurance coverage for hearing aids helping people under 18. However, Rep. Sharon Chung (D-Bloomington) said there are more than 380,000 people in Illinois who are deaf or deal with severe hearing loss.

Chung and co-sponsors explained that over 20 other states have adopted identical legislation.

“We’re trying to cover peoples’ hearing,” Chung said. “We’re not asking to cover nose jobs or medically unnecessary things. I would think that most people here would like to have their friends, and colleagues, and neighbors around the state be able to hear.” 

Although, several House Republicans are concerned about additional costs for insurance companies. They argue that the cost will eventually filter down to people paying for their insurance. House Republican Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) said she supported the plan, but she said Chung and legislative staff should know how much the hearing aids would cost.

“We just have to be very thoughtful when we’re coming forward and have to know the facts behind what we’re legislating for,” McCombie said. “When we’re mandating this, oftentimes what happens is coverage at all isn’t covered. We don’t want to take ourselves right out of the market.”

The Illinois House approved a bill Thursday night to require all insurance companies to provide coverage for medically-necessary hearing aids. 

Still, House Democrats noted that no insurance companies oppose the plan. Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) also said insurance companies in Illinois made billions over the past year and won’t struggle under the legislation.

“My daughter, who’s a public school teacher, cannot afford her own hearing aids which cost me $15,000,” said Rep. Diane Blair-Sherlock (D-Villa Park). “That’s a drop in the bucket for an insurance company. People with the hearing loss, it’s not their fault. They shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

House Bill 2443 passed out of the House on a 83-25 vote with one representative voting present. The proposal now heads to the Senate for further consideration. 

Copyright 2023. WAND TV. All rights reserved.

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March 23, 2023 at 10:47PM

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